CFP: “Rupturing Colonial Legacies: Colonialisms and Decolonizations in Africa and the African Diaspora”

Call For Papers

17th Annual Africa Conference at the University of Texas at Austin
(March 31-April 2, 2017 Austin, TX)
Convened by: Dr. Toyin Falola, Department of History, UT Austin

“Rupturing Colonial Legacies: Colonialisms and Decolonizations in Africa and the African Diaspora”
While overt colonization ended with the official independence of African and Asian countries during the twentieth century, contemporary forms of imperialism and globalization perpetuate colonial inequities and structures of power, epistemology, subjectivity, and visuality. The political-economic/social/intellectual hierarchies that were first implemented through historical colonialism continue to govern the lived experiences of people of African and Afro-indigenous descent both within and across nation states. Global critiques and responses to historical and contemporary colonialisms have taken on many names and theoretical strategies, including but not limited to decolonial, anti-colonial, post-colonial, and indigenous intellectual, artistic, epistemic, political/economic, and religio-spiritual genealogies of thought and activism.

The goal of the 2017 Africa Conference is to problematize historical and contemporary colonial and neo-colonial power structures in relation to Africa and the African Diaspora, as well as to (re)imagine and map out alternative futures both within and outside of these global matrices of power and domination. Thus, we invite proposals for papers, panel presentations, roundtables, and artistic works/performances that critically engage the seen and unseen, named and unnamed global constellations of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa and the African Diaspora of past, present, and future.

As in years past, participants will be drawn from around the world. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. The conference will provide time for scholars from various disciplines and geographical locations to interact, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Additionally, selected papers will be published in book form. Submitted papers will be assigned to particular panels according to similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical location. Panel proposals (of 3-5 presenters) are especially encouraged. We invite submissions that include but are not limited to the following sub-themes and topics, treated in either historical or contemporary contexts:

Political and Economic Colonialisms:

International and transnational politics and political movements.
International trade agreements and their discontents.
Development, underdevelopment, and poverty.
Natural resource management and development via extractive economies.
Property, property rights, and land reform (including agrarian policies).
Education policies.
Urbanization and gentrification.
International agencies (African Union, U.N., World Bank, IMF, UNESCO, etc).
African political and economic relationships to the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
Transnationalism, immigration, and citizenship.
Migration and memory.
Formal and informal economies (including transnational labor and remittances).
Reverse migrations.
Forms of national and transnational protest.
Police brutality.
Human rights and contemporary forms of slavery.
Ongoing Black and Indigenous genocide/epistemicide.
Responses to Intellectual, Epistemic, and Cultural Colonialisms:

Modernity/transmodernity and coloniality/decoloniality.
Pluriversalism in Africa and the Diaspora.
National and transnational postcolonialisms.
Afro-pessimisms and Afro-optimisms.
Afro-futurism and the Afro-imaginative.
African and Afro-Caribbean political thought.
African and African Diaspora Marxisms.
Historical and contemporary Black nationalisms.
Historical and contemporary pan-Africanisms.
Epistemicide and epistemic resistance.
Linguistic colonialisms.
Orality, oral histories, and non-written cultural transmissions.
Endangered languages and language revitalization.
Kinship networks.
Radical pedagogies.
African and African Diaspora critiques of Social Science and Humanities theories/methodologies.
Local and transnational networks of cultural and knowledge production.
New social movements and social media.
Visuality, media, and cultural representations.
Gastronomic and culinary cultural transmissions.
Responses to Racial, Gendered, and Sexual Colonialisms:

Historical formations of race and gender and their contemporary legacies.
Afro-Indigeneity, Afro-Latinidad, and Afro-Asian experiences and theories.
Race and identity politics.
Women’s movements in the global south.
Reproductive rights in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Blackness, sexualities, and sexual politics.
Gendered labor and poverty.
The role of colonial gender norms and sexual violence in colonization.
The role of gender and sexual justice in decolonization.
Transnational women of color and third world feminisms (including their relationship to first world and white feminisms).
African and African Diaspora feminist, Queer, and Trans theories and epistemologies.
Transnational Black feminist, Queer, and Trans theorizations of the nation-state.
Alternatives to the heteropatriarchal nuclear family.
Non-binary, ambiguity, alterity, and/or fluidity of gender identities.
Visual Colonialisms and Artistic and Performed Decolonizations:

Musical, literary/poetic, and dramatic expression.
New media and social media.
African and African Diaspora cinema and film.
Public art (both state-sanctioned and informal).
Plastic arts and artistic livelihoods.
Dance and popular cultures.
Traditional and ancestral musical and artistic expression.
Artistic and performed critiques of modernity and the nation-state.
Cultural and artistic tourism.
Cultural and artistic appropriations.
The politics and economics of musical and artistic production.
Music, art, and political/social movements.
Music, art, and gender and sexuality.
Body art and bodily modification.
Religious Colonialisms and Religio-Spiritual Decolonizations:

The role of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in historical and contemporary colonialisms.
Challenging the narrative of secular modernity.
Religious political movements.
Indigenous and ancestral African religions.
Syncretic religions of the African diaspora.
African, African Diaspora, and Indigenous religio-spiritual critiques of the nation-state and modernity.
Islam in Africa and the Diaspora.
African and African Diaspora Judaisms.
African and African Diaspora religions and gender/sexuality.
Religious and religio-spiritual art, music, and cultural production.
Religious and religio-spiritual healing traditions.
Biomedical/Technological Colonialisms and Embodied Decolonizations:

Western biomedicine and colonization.
Western biomedicine and racial/gendered/sexual violence.
Forced sterilizations and scientific experimentation.
Historicizing and decolonizing biology.
Traditional and ancestral medicinal practices.
Embodied knowledges and bodily transmissions of knowledge.
African and African Diaspora critiques of the Cartesian mind/body divide.
Pediatrics and infant mortality.
Food crises, hunger, and malnutrition.
Substance abuse.
Intergenerational trauma, memory, and affect.
Communicable disease management and public health.
Histories of medical violence.
Decolonizing psychological sciences.
Genetic ancestry testing.
Each individual proposal must include: 1) title of the work, and an abstract of 250 words. 2) name of the presenter (with the surname underlined) 3) mailing address 4) number phone 5) email 6) institutional affiliation 7) three to five keywords that best characterize the themes and topics relevant to your submission.

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: 1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 300 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work 2) a 250-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker 3) mailing address 4) phone number 5) email and 6) institutional affiliation of each presenter. Panels with four presenters or less may be completed with other relevant presentations.

Proposals will be accepted now through the final deadline of November 30, 2016. A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $150 for scholars and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately upon the acceptance of the abstract. This conference fee includes conference t-shirt and bag, admission to the panels, workshops, and special events, as well as transportation to and from the hotel and conference events. Registration also includes breakfast all three days, dinner on Friday night, lunch on Saturday, a banquet with DJ and open bar Saturday evening, and a closing celebration at Dr. Falola’s house including dinner and DJ. All participants must raise the funding to attend the conference, including registration fee, transportation and accommodation. The conference and the University of Texas at Austin does not provide any form of sponsorship or financial support, however the Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake will have a special rate for conference participants, and transportation between the hotel and the university is included. Contact conference coordinators Farid Leonardo Suárez and Dr. Kenneth E. Kalu for questions and more information:


STUDY HALF DAY. Re-imagining Ends of Empire, University of Portsmouth

The study of the ends of empires and decolonisation has generally focused on the passage from empire to nation-states. Whether this process was violent or relatively peaceful, it has generally been presented as historically inevitable. This is particularly the case with France’s African empire which is often studied in terms of its attempt and failure to hold on at all costs before ultimately giving up (Algeria) or its ‘successful’ negotiation of a smooth transfer of power to a Westernised African elite (West Africa). This study day aims to expand on these new approaches to studying the ends of empire. 

With the generous support of The Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), The Society for French Studies (SFS), The Society for the Study of French History (SSFH), the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) and the School of Languages and Area Studies, University of Portsmouth.


Wednesday March 2, 2016, University of Portsmouth, Park building room 3.23

12:20 – 12:30      Welcome and Introduction by Natalya Vince

12:30 – 1:30        Panel 1: The SSFH panel: Beyond the Franco-African Perspective (Chaired by Natalya Vince) followed by a Q&A

Mark Thurner (University of London): “Decolonizing Decolonisation: On the Indo-Hispanic Origins of the Postcolonial Historical Imagination”

Benoît Trépied (IRIS, CNRS): “Colonies After Empire? Nationalising France’s Overseas Territories in the Pacific (1960s-1970s)”

1:30-1:45              Short Break

1:45-3:30              Panel 2: The ASMCF Panel: African Perspectives on Ending Empires

Ismay Milford (European University Institute, Florence): “‘The unity of Africa means the unity of ourselves’: The Committee of African Organisations and the pursuit of an imagined unity”

Megan Brown (The Graduate Center, City University of New York): “Letters to Brussels: Independent Algeria’s Eurafrican Moment?”

Meike de Goede (Leiden University): Matsouanist Resistance in late Colonial Congo-Brazzaville

With discussion from Andrew W M Smith (UCL), who will also draw comparisons with his research on the ‘messy ends’ of French empire and the role of contingency and improvisation.

3:30-4:00              Tea/Coffee Break

4:00-5:15              Panel 3: The SFS Panel: Alternative European Narratives of Decolonisation

Charlotte Riley (University of Southampton): “‘This is work for the future of mankind’: Development aid and the ‘end’ of the British Empire in Africa.”

Paula Pfoser (Vienna): “Viewing Decolonization from the perspective of a (Post) Colonialism without Colonies”

With discussion from Thomas Jackson (University of Sheffield), who will also draw comparisons with his research on the French ‘end of empire’ and its legal frameworks and debates surrounding these.

5: 15 – 5:30          Conclusion

All welcome
For more information, please contact Kelsey Suggitt (